Guidelines for contributors and editors

This page provides information to help contributors and editors maintain a consistent style and format on The Academic Health Economists’ Blog. Contributors should – as far as possible – adhere to these guidelines. It is the responsibility of the editors to ensure that blog posts do.

What is The Academic Health Economists’ Blog all about?

The principal outlet for academic writing is the journal article. Articles can take a very long time to be published and involve an arduous process. Researchers need an outlet that maintains high standards but is quick and easy. This is the space occupied by The Academic Health Economists’ Blog. The Blog has multiple authors and is not a platform for any specific individual or group.

Blogging is a way to reach lots of people both inside and outside academia. Blogging has been shown to be beneficial to authors in terms of both modern and traditional metrics. Contributors to The Blog can see traffic and other statistics to understand their impact.

What should I contribute?

There are numerous types of blog post you might like to submit for publication at The Blog. The subject matter should always relate to health economics or to health economists specifically. They might concern:

  • Your own research (published or otherwise)
  • Your views on recent events or policy
  • Your views on the research of others
  • Book reviews
  • Technical and methodological guidance

If you have an idea and you are unsure whether it is suited to The Blog, contact an editor, who will be happy to give you feedback.

What shouldn’t I contribute?

The Blog only publishes original material. You should not submit material that has already been – or is scheduled to be – published elsewhere. Content first published on the blog can be published elsewhere. See the Copyright section below.

Usually, The Blog should not be used to report evidence (for example, from an economic evaluation) for its own sake. There are many other outlets to support evidence-based medicine; for example, The National Elf Service. Results should only be presented if they have implications for health economics or for health economists.

Your contributions must not include copyrighted material – including images – without permission. More details about copyright are provided below. Blog posts that do not adhere to copyright restrictions or that are found to have been previously published elsewhere will be removed.

Roles

The Blog uses WordPress.com for content management. You can create a WordPress.com account for yourself. There are three roles that you can have in the running of The Blog: Administrator, Editor, or Contributor.

Administrator

There is only one administrator: Chris Sampson. Chris is the only person who can make fundamental changes to the website.

Editor

Editors are able to publish posts to the blog. Importantly, they are able to review posts submitted by contributors and publish them. They can moderate comments. Additionally, editors are able to upload media. Editor roles are by invitation only.

Contributor

Contributors can create and edit their own posts, but these must be reviewed by an editor before they can be published. As a contributor, you must contact one of the editors to tell us when your blog post is ready for publication. Contributors will also be invited to join our private group on Discord to discuss matters relating to the blog. Anyone can request to become a contributor at any time.

Copyright

All articles published on the blog are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. This means that the blog posts can be republished elsewhere (in whole or in part, without restriction) on the condition that appropriate credit is given to the original author. It also means that you, as the author, can republish the blog post elsewhere. For example, you may wish to make the content more citable by obtaining a DOI from a service such as Zenodo or Figshare.

Contributors should not use copyrighted material in blog posts without permission. Material made available under a Creative Commons or other public licence can be used so long as the full terms of the licence are satisfied.

If you have any questions about copyright, contact an editor.

Style

Here we set out how you should construct your blog post. At the end you will find a checklist that you can use every time you prepare a blog post. To learn how to write posts in WordPress, visit https://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/.

Titles

Your title should be short – preferably no more than 15 words or 100 characters. Your title should not be cryptic and should clearly show the subject matter. People should be able to find your blog post by using search engines like Google. To this end, your title should contain key terms that people might search.

Only proper nouns and the first word of the title should be capitalised, and there should be no full stop at the end. For example:

  • Could a reduction in the cost-effectiveness threshold stymie medical research and development?
  • The economics of a 7-day NHS
  • Health economics on Wikipedia: a call to action
  • Is payment by diagnosis for dementia a good strategy?

Text

Some of our regular features have a standardised structure, for which a template is provided. For other blog posts, there is no fixed structure. However, text should be broken down into paragraphs and you should use subheadings where possible.

Blog posts should not be too long. If you are writing a blog post and it exceeds 1000 words, you should consider splitting it into multiple blog posts.

Please consider the needs of all readers. For example, justified text and double sentence spacing can be difficult to read for people with dyslexia. Images should include a description for the benefit of people with visual impairment. For more details about what you should and shouldn’t do when writing on the internet, visit the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Links and references

You do not need to include references in the same way as you might for a journal article. If you want to cite a particular source, simply add a hyperlink in the text at the appropriate point. Visit WordPress Support for help with creating links.

Links are very important on a blog. The more links from your blog post to other sites, the more likely it is that other sites will link back to your blog post. In some cases, links will automatically generate return links, which can improve your blog post’s standing in search engines. It’s also vital that links direct to sources that will not be moved, which could result in ‘dead’ links. To this end we employ strict preferences for links.

Journal articles

As an academic blog, we frequently cite published literature. Appropriate links should be selected in the following order of preference:

  1. RePEc: Research Papers in Economics is a database for journal articles and working papers. By linking to RePEc, your blog post will appear on EconAcademics.org as well as on the RePEc page for the item you cite. The link should be to the IDEAS website. Search for papers at https://ideas.repec.org.
  2. DOI: If the published version of the article is not on RePEc, you should link directly to the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). DOIs are permanent. Links to DOIs will be recorded by AltMetric. Links should be constructed as https://doi.org/ followed by the DOI.
  3. PubMed: Some articles – particularly older ones – do not have a DOI. However, some appear in PubMed. By linking to a PubMed page your link will be detected by AltMetric.
  4. Journal link: If options 1 to 3 are not possible, you should link to the article’s page on the journal’s website.

People

Sometimes, it is useful to link to profile pages for individual researchers. Here, the value of the link is in disambiguating the individual, and the priority is the longevity of the link. Appropriate links should be selected in the following order of preference:

  1. ORCID: Many academics now have an ORCID identifier, which is like a DOI for a researcher. You can search for individuals on the ORCID website. Links should be formatted as https://orcid.org/ followed by the ORCID ID.
  2. Institution webpage: Individuals affiliated with universities will usually have a profile page on their institution’s website.
  3. Academic profile: If an individual does not have an institutional profile page, search for them on alternative academic websites, such as ResearchGate or Google Scholar.
  4. Personal profile: Where the individual does not have any academic web presence, link to a personal website or social network such as LinkedIn or Twitter.

Other

Links to other types of pages should be included as cleanly as possible to prevent link rot. For example, links often carry additional information at the end. Where possible, this should be removed. Link shorteners should not be used. You should always try to avoid linking directly to files, such as PDFs.

Images

Only editors are able to upload images and other media to the website. If you are a contributor and would like to include an image in your blog post, simply place a link to this image where you would like it to appear. If you would like a caption to accompany the image, simply include this in speech marks below the link.

You can find images that are available for use under a Creative Commons license via Wikimedia, Flickr, Google, or other sites. Where images are included that require attribution, this should be included in the text of the caption. Additionally, a link to the original source should be provided at the end of the blog post under the subheading Credits. Images that you have created yourself should be emailed to an editor.

Editors can find help relating to uploading and editing images at WordPress Support.

Regular features

We run several recurring features on the blog that maintain a particular format, and this section will be updated as necessary as new features are developed.

Journal round-ups

Journal round-ups are posted every Monday at 12 p.m. (midday) London time. When you volunteer to write a journal round-up, an editor will create a draft blog post from a template, which you can then edit in WordPress.

Journal round-ups discuss whole issues of recently published journals. Round-ups should usually include at least two recent issues, which will be agreed with an editor when a contributor volunteers.

Beyond this, the journal round-up format is flexible. Contributors can choose to briefly discuss every article in an issue or to discuss fewer articles in greater depth. Each article mentioned should be linked, as per the guidelines above.

Optimisation

In addition to the above, there are a number of steps that can be taken to help bring more readers to your blog post.

Categories

It is vital that you add either one or two (and no more) categories to your blog post that relate to the subject matter. Categories can help highlight your blog post on WordPress.com. The Blog uses 12 subject-based categories:

  • Demand for Health and Health Care
  • Determinants of Health and Ill-Health
  • Economic Evaluation
  • Efficiency and Equity
  • Health and its Value
  • Health and the Economy
  • Health Statistics and Econometrics
  • Human Resources
  • Markets in Health Care
  • Medical Insurance
  • Public Health
  • Supply of Health Services

Additionally, there are categories relating to specific features on the blog:

  • #HEJC
  • Journal round-up
  • Meeting round-up
  • News
  • Reviews

You should not create new categories and you should always remove the ‘Uncategorized’ category, which is selected by default. For more help with categories, visit WordPress Support.

Tags

Tags are keywords. Like categories, they can help direct traffic to your blog post. Tags are unlimited and you should add as many as possible (usually between 5 and 20). For more help with tags, visit WordPress Support.

Scheduling

Editors are able to either publish posts immediately or schedule them. Unless of short-term or urgent relevance to current affairs, blog posts should never be published immediately. Instead, they should be scheduled for the next weekday morning, for 7 a.m. London time. For more help with scheduling, visit WordPress Support.

Social media

Your blog post will be promoted via The Blog’s social networks. In order to facilitate this, you can suggest to the administrator some possible tweets or status updates. Ideally, you should also promote your blog post within your own social networks. At the bottom of your published blog post, you will see several options for sharing via different social networks and other websites.

Checklist

You can use this checklist whenever you are writing (as a contributor) or reviewing (as an editor) a new blog post. The answer to all questions should be “yes”.

  • Does the blog post represent original content, not published elsewhere?
  • Is the subject matter of particular relevance to health economics?
  • Is the title shorter than 100 characters?
  • Is the text divided into easy-to-follow paragraphs?
  • Are subheadings used where necessary?
  • Are all hyperlinks to the best possible destination?
  • Does the use of any images or media satisfy copyright rules?
  • Are all sources appropriately credited?
  • Is the blog post categorised into 1 or 2 subject categories?
  • Have all relevant tags been added?